By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new survey finds Minneapolis and St. Paul among the worst places for black Americans to call home.

Experts say one reason is that Minnesota has one of the highest attrition rates for black professionals. Many who come here for work leave within two years — which is seen in the troubling statistic comparing median income.

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A typical black household in the Twin Cities has an income of $31,635 a year. That is just 40 percent of the average earnings at a white household.

“A lot of our neighborhoods in Minnesota, in Minneapolis-Twin Cities, are still segregated,” said James Burroughs, chief inclusion officer for the state. “We have low-income neighborhoods that are racially isolated; there are a lot of African Americans living in poverty, and in those neighborhoods, unfortunately we have schools that are not doing that well related to low test scores, graduation rates.”

Many say the stats are painting a picture of two Minnesotas: one black and one white.

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“It’s okay to have a range of feelings — get mad, get sad, whatever. Blow up, throw a shoe,” Jaton White, engagement consultant for Northside Achievement Zone said. “But then what are you going to do? Who are you going to partner with? What are the outcomes you desire in those spaces? Get busy. That’s all that report means, is that there are not enough people with their hands on the work.”

North Side Achievement Zone (NAZ) works to shrink disparities in poverty, income and homeownership.

“NAZ works, and it simply works because we build relationships. We build authentic relationships that are trusting and caring,” said White. “We don’t go in telling people what they should do, we go in listening for what their need is and what they’re missing and we build on that.”

White says there are lots of organizations working to close the disparities gap, but more needs to be done. And it all starts within.

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“Superman is not coming,” White said. “You’re Superman, I’m Superman. Take care of your house, I’m gonna take care of my house. We take care of each other. We just saved our community.”

Reg Chapman